Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) recently received a Gold Economic Equity and Inclusion Award as part of the International Economic Development Council’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards for UCI’s inclusion initiatives.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day,” said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”
According to IEDC, the Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs, partnerships and leaders for their efforts to create positive change in their communities. The Economic Equity and Inclusion Award specifically “recognizes programs dedicated to improving the quality of life within a community through focused, innovative, and inclusive initiatives that incorporate the unique experiences and knowledge of underserved members of the community.”
“The goal of our economic inclusion initiatives is to improve the financial health and quality of life for Uptown residents and to increase contracting and investing opportunities for local minority- and women-owned businesses,” said Beth Robinson, President and CEO of UCI. “UCI is determined to support existing community members and businesses so that Uptown continues to be a diverse, vibrant community.”
UCI has worked with WEB Ventures LLC (WEB), diversity and inclusion consultants, for more than six years to develop a long-term economic inclusion framework and lead UCI’s inclusion efforts. Through these initiatives, UCI aims to retain existing residents and create job, contracting and investment opportunities for minority business enterprises (MBE) and women business enterprises (WBE).
In addition, UCI works with neighborhood development corporations and community councils to engage residents and stakeholders to ensure that community members benefit from new development. Community engagement has always been a priority for UCI to ensure that community organizations and residents have a seat at the table to determine their neighborhoods’ future from the beginning planning stages throughout the development process.
“We believe that our economic inclusion and community engagement efforts will have a meaningful impact on Uptown residents and community members as the neighborhoods continue to grow,” said Robinson. “While we don’t have everything perfectly figured out, we’re determined to collaborate with our community partners and learn along the way so we can best support local residents, MBEs and WBEs through all of our projects.”
UCI also works with organizations throughout the city that partner with UCI on various inclusion and engagement initiatives, such as the Minority Business Accelerator, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and HCDC, Inc.
UCI continues coordinating with Terrex Development & Construction, MLK Investors I, Queen City Hills LLC, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, around the developments at the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road. As UCI pursues other projects in Uptown, UCI will continue working with community organizations and WEB to ensure developers meet inclusion goals for residents, MBEs and WBEs. Ultimately, UCI hopes that these proactive economic inclusion and engagement efforts help prevent resident displacement as development, by UCI and others, continues in the Uptown neighborhoods.
UCI accepted its award during a virtual meeting on October 14 as part of IEDC’s Annual Conference. It is the second time UCI has received an Excellence in Economic Development Award from IEDC. In 2013, UCI also received a Gold award for Neighborhood Development.